or


[01/09/12 - 08:49 AM]
Smithsonian Channel Premieres "Black Wings" on Martin Luther King Day - Monday, January 16 at 8PM ET/PT
The one-hour special "celebrates the stories of black aviation with rich detail and character, proving that the dream to fly is an aspiration that transcends all boundaries."

[via press release from Smithsonian Channel]

MEDIA ALERT

GROUNDBREAKING AFRICAN-AMERICAN AVIATORS FEATURED IN BLACK WINGS PREMIERING ON DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY, MONDAY, JANUARY 16 AT 8PM ET/PT ON SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL

From Tuskegee Airmen to NASA Astronauts to Pioneering Female Pilots, One-Hour Special Tells Story of How African-Americans Contributed to American Aviation

New York, NY - January 9, 2012 - For early aviators, conquering the forces of gravity was a daunting challenge. But black aviators had an additional challenge - the forces of racism. Men and women of color who took to the skies and demonstrated that skin color doesn't determine skill level are the subject of the new Smithsonian Channel one-hour special, BLACK WINGS, premiering Monday, January 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

BLACK WINGS celebrates the stories of black aviation with rich detail and character, proving that the dream to fly is an aspiration that transcends all boundaries. Throughout the 20th century, the evolution of aviation paralleled the evolution of American race relations. In the space where these two stories intersect are rich and rarely-told stories of courage and innovation. For these adventurers, the attraction of flight was stronger than the distraction of racism, and by taking to the skies they helped America look beyond old stereotypes. From biplanes to commercial jets, from barnstormers to war fighters, pioneering black pilots opened the skies for all.

BESSIE COLEMAN was the first internationally-licensed black pilot in America... and a woman. How did she do it? Determination, personality, and the guts to learn French and move to Paris for training, as no one in the U.S. would take her. When barnstorming was the rage in the 20s, she was on the leading edge of aviation, smashing stereotypes along the way. Helping to tell her story is LA'SHANDA HOLMES, a Coast Guard helicopter pilot who overcame a troubled childhood to become an enthusiastic ambassador for flight.

WILLIAM POWELL was a pilot and social visionary. When aviation was the cutting edge technology of the day, Powell tried every means possible to get African Americans involved in flight in order to prove they could innovate alongside whites. Dubbed "a prophet of aviation", his goal was nothing less than complete equality. Framing this story is ROBIN PETGRAVE, who runs an aviation program for minority youths in Los Angeles. Powell and Petgrave are separated by 80 years, but their visions are strikingly similar.

While the exploits of Earhart and Lindberg became iconic, THE FLYING HOBOS, pioneering black aviators, showed just as much daring but were relegated to the shadows - famous only to the black community. Two pilots tried to change that by taking off for a cross country flight with $25 in their pockets - during the depths of the Great Depression -- hoping that good luck in the air and goodwill on the ground would propel them to be the first African Americans to fly coast to coast. Modern insight comes from GUS MCLEOD, an adventure pilot who was the first to fly to the North Pole in an open cockpit biplane.

TUSKEGEE AIRMEN is the most well-known of the stories recounted in BLACK WINGS, but rarely put into context. How did the black aviators of the 20s and 30s blaze the trail for these World War II fighter pilots? And after the war, how did military culture lead the rest of society into the battle over civil rights? Air Force pilot MATT QUY offers modern perspective, revealing how he fell into Tuskegee history quite literally by accident, but ended up honoring the Airmen in a very unique way.

JESSE BROWN was the first black pilot trained by the Navy. Flying combat in the Korean War, he was shot down. Fellow pilot Thomas Hudner crash-landed his own plane to try to save the badly injured Brown from encroaching North Koreans. THOMAS HUDNER himself recounts the harrowing episode, and its bittersweet ending with President Truman at a White House ceremony. This surprising story illustrates what a white man was willing to do for a black man in 1950.

CHAPPIE JAMES trained at Tuskegee, flew combat in Korea and Vietnam, and later became America's first black 4-star general. Our focus will be Vietnam, when he was vice commander of a celebrated Air Force unit led by Col. Robin Olds. Soon, they were nicknamed "Blackman and Robin" and together they helped shape a cohesive and successful flying force amid a war known more for its chaos. Framing this story is BENJAMIN ALVIN DREW, a military helicopter pilot in the 80s and 90s who became an astronaut and flew missions on the space shuttle.

While the military was hurtling towards successful racial integration at all levels, society dragged behind. At the dawn of the jet age, the new commercial airlines were routinely hiring retired military pilots - but not black pilots. MARLON GREEN changed that. His story starts with an application form that kept his race a secret, and ends with a historic Supreme Court decision that changed the airline industry. His family members offer a very personal account of this important civil rights pioneer whose story has never been told on film or television before.

ABOUT SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL

Smithsonian Channel is owned by Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution. Its programs are largely inspired by the assets of the world's largest museum complex. Smithsonian Channel features award-winning original documentaries, series, and groundbreaking programs highlighting America's historical, cultural and scientific heritage. Smithsonian Channel brings the American experience home in high definition and Dolby Digital 5.1 and is available to customers of DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cablevision, Verizon, AT&T, and more. Learn more at www.smithsonianchannel.com.





  [january 2012]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S


· SHOWATCH
(series past and present)
· DEVWATCH
(series in development)
· MOVIEWATCH
(tv movies and mini-series)









[03/31/15 - 02:09 PM]
"House of Lies" Renewed for a Fifth Season On Showtime(R)
"When you have a gifted acting ensemble led by Don Cheadle and smart, acerbic writing led by showrunner Matthew Carnahan you expect something special, and "House of Lies" delivers for us each season," said Gary Levine.

[03/31/15 - 12:00 PM]
FX Orders Fourth Season of "The Americans"
Four episodes remain in the current season, which will conclude with the season finale on April 22.

[03/31/15 - 10:55 AM]
Jeff Fahey Joins the Cast of El Rey Network/Miramax's "From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series"
Fahey has been cast in the role of "Uncle Eddie Cruickshank," the man who raised The Gecko Brothers after their father died in a fire.

[03/31/15 - 10:11 AM]
Discovery Channel Unveils 2015-2016 Upfront Slate
"Discovery Channel is going from strength to strength this coming year," said Rich Ross. "We're adding new documentaries, scripted series and themed programming to a strong lineup of new unscripted series."

[03/31/15 - 10:10 AM]
TLC Fills Out 2015-2016 Slate Of Programming with Style, Unique Families, And Life's Most Important Moments
This mix of authentic real people, compelling transformation, and larger-than-life stories will drive the network forward in the coming year.

[03/31/15 - 10:09 AM]
Science Channel's 2015-2016 Upfront Programming Slate Breaks Boundaries
The passion, curiosity and bold questions that define the brand are all featured in Science Channel's provocative lineup of exciting shows.

[03/31/15 - 10:09 AM]
Lifetime(R)'s Hit Series, "Devious Maids" From Executive Producers Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria, Returns for Third Season on June 1st
The series moves to Monday nights at 9:00/8:00c leading into the new series "UnREAL" at 10:00/9:00c.

[03/31/15 - 10:08 AM]
Velocity Adds Horse Power to Record Ratings Growth with 2015-16 Upfront Slate
Velocity's 2015-16 programming slate of 12 top returning franchises and several new series look to strengthen ratings with more than 220 premiere hours.

[03/31/15 - 10:07 AM]
Animal Planet Walks on the Wild Side with Its 2015-16 Upfront Programming Slate
In 2014, Animal Planet ranked among the top-20 ad-supported cable networks in prime among Men 25-54 for the third consecutive year.

[03/31/15 - 10:06 AM]
Investigation Discovery Launches New Series Hosted by Legendary Journalist Barbara Walters
"Barbara Walters sets the bar for journalism with remarkable and iconic interviews and unparalleled instinct for getting to the heart of a story," said Henry Schleiff.

[03/31/15 - 10:05 AM]
Investigation Discovery Debuts More Than 650 Hours of Powerful Original Content This 2015-16 Upfront Season
With more than 650 hours of original content planned this season, ID is poised to continue the incredible audience growth that has made the network a serial success as one of the top destinations for women on television.

[03/31/15 - 10:04 AM]
Discovery Life Channel Announces 2015-16 Upfront Programming Slate Filled with Heart-Pounding Medical Mysteries and Dramatic Series Capturing Life's Most Unexpected Moments
Discovery Life Channel delivers the heart-wrenching drama of those overcoming extreme adversity in an immersive storytelling style that captures the very best of nonfiction television.

[03/31/15 - 10:03 AM]
American Heroes Channel's 2015-16 Upfront Slate Welcomes the Return of Hit Series "Gunslingers" and "Against The Odds" to Network
AHC focuses on timeless and compelling action and adventure stories that bridge a connection between the lessons of past and the legends of today.

[03/31/15 - 10:02 AM]
Destination America's 2015-16 Upfront Programming Slate Takes All-American Entertainment Across the Country
Whether cooking special sauce at a Texas BBQ competition, exploring unknown territory in Alaska, hunting for monsters in West Virginia, building an epic dream house in the Rockies, or never giving up the fight in the wrestling ring, Destination America is TV that celebrates U.S.

[03/31/15 - 10:01 AM]
Discovery Family Channel Leaps Into 2015-16 Upfront Season
Discovery Family Channel features a clever mix of entertaining, high-quality real-world content that appeals to the entire family.